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Chris Williamson MP Praises Assad Apologist.

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The “Rebel” tent at The Levellers festival: Who on earth would want to attend this event?

Or this:

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Or this?

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Well now we know:

Not surprisingly Williamson has already got some stiff replies:

Vanessa Beeley — the Syrian conflict’s goddess of propaganda

Brian Whitaker. 

One spin-off from the Syrian conflict has been a war of words that reaches far beyond the Middle East. It’s a battle in which honest reporting and the search for truth have come under sustained attack.

Those leading the attack claim they are simply asking questions that need to be asked. It’s healthy scepticism, they say. But it’s a selective kind of scepticism where reports from some sources, primarily mainstream media in the west, are dismissed as untrue — not because evidence shows they are wrong but because they don’t fit the desired narrative.

At the same time, reports that do fit the narrative win praise on social media, regardless of supporting evidence, and people who venture to question them are liable to be assailed with abuse.

A prominent example is the work of Vanessa Beeley, a supporter of the Assad regime whose reports from Syria have turned her into a social media celebrity. The Russian propaganda channel, RT, describes her as “an independent investigative journalist” and, in addition to her Russian TV appearances, she is associate editor of 21st Century Wire, the conspiracy theory website that publishes most of her work.


Beeley (fourth from right) with President Assad in 2016. She described it as her proudest moment.
 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Moroccan feminist activist, Ibtissam Lachgar, arrested for Public Drinking and Disturbing Order.

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Solidarity with Ibtissam Lachgar!

ABAT, Morocco (AP) — A prominent Moroccan feminist activist has been arrested for alleged public drinking and disturbance of order, in what her association called an attempt to quash its campaigning for abortion access and LGBT rights.

An online campaign was launched soon after Ibtissam Lachgar’s arrest Friday in Rabat, demanding her release.

Lachgar’s group Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms, or MALI, said in a statement that “we strongly condemn these arbitrary arrests and intimidation of members of the movement.”

Hours earlier, MALI criticized the Health Ministry in a press release for banning sales of a drug used to induce abortion. The group also created an online platform to provide women with abortion pills.

Women who intentionally attempt or undergo abortion in Morocco face up to two years in prison and a $50 fine.

AP News.

Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles – Maroc

(from Face Book)

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Betty Ibtissame Lachgar was assaulted in town, and unjustly detained at the police station while she wanted to file a complaint against her attackers ” with knives ‘: change of police stations, interrogations, degrading situation in the jails…

According to Betty’s family and friends, she’s supposed to be out in the morning to get past the da.

If Betty was to be a victim of violence, human rights violations or humiliation during her detention, the Moroccan state will be held in full responsibility by Mali, such violence will be prosecuted.

My house was smiling to thank you for being assaulted in the ancient city of Rabat, and was unjustly detained at the police station while she wanted to file a complaint against her attackers “with knives”: changing police stations, interrogations and humiliating situation at the theoretical guard.

According to Betty’s family and friends, you’re supposed to come out tomorrow morning to go to the d.a.

If Betty is a victim of violence, human rights violations or humiliation during her detention, the Moroccan state will be fully responsible by ” Mali and this violence will be pursued legally.

She has now been released.

There is a ‘debate’ about the MALI  including allegations that they have been “provocative”.

That is, they have organised a campaign about the dramatic position of Moroccan women who wish to have an abortion and have to resort to clandestine methods. The movement is also charged with “muscular” activism having held a picnic in the month of Ramadan, a  ‘kiss in’ to support two adolescents charged with embracing in public, backing gay rights and supporting Femen.

Ibtissam Lachgar alleges that before her arrest she and a friend were threatened by a group of young men for their “libertarian” lifestyle and, in the process of complaining to the local police, she was again menaced and insulted before finding out, later, that charges against her had been made. (Here)

Huffington Post reports on this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 19, 2018 at 12:12 pm

Solidarity with Bookmarks against Fascists and Trump supporters’ attack.

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PRESS RELEASE: FAR RIGHT THUGS ATTACK TUC BACKED SOCIALIST BOOKSHOP

Bookmarks in central London, a socialist bookshop and also the TUC’s official bookseller, was attacked on Saturday (4 August) by around a dozen far right supporters.

Some carried placards reading “British Bolshevik Cult” and one of them wore a Trump Mask. Books and magazines were ripped and torn, with displays wrecked.

A Bookmarks staff member said,

Books on Islamophobia were ridiculed and thrown around. They chanted about Muslims and paedophilia, and called us traitors. While not mentioning Tommy Robinson the links are there to see.”

The far right activists also shouted about Corbyn and anti-semitism and then took Abram Leon’s “The Jewish Question” off the shelf holding it aloft as proof of the anti-semitism of the left.

The attackers also make threats to return and “show what they can do”.

Michael Bradley from Stand up to Racism said:

“Luckily no one was hurt this time, but this is a sinister development that indicates the growing confidence of the far right who feel they can attack a bookshop in central London in broad daylight. Attacking a bookshop also exposes their claims to be defenders of free speech as hollow.”

For those who do not know Bookmarks  in Bloomsbury Street is just around the corner from the TUC  (Great Russell St).

 

Solidarity!

Update: Via Urban Forum.

The group seems to be the same US-linked alt-right group (note placards) that protested against a FB ban on Alex Jones, “America’s leading conspiracy theorist”.

We appear to have entered the unpleasant American-led world of Kill all Normies.

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They are from this group: Make Britain Great Again.

STAND AGAINST MARXISM

We do more than protest. We heavily research politics, and have familiarity with what drives the left-wing radicals who want to destroy Britain. We will do EVERYTHING it takes to Make Britain Great Again!

These claim to be “modern Day Chartists”.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 5, 2018 at 11:05 am

Backlash at Momentum Withdrawing Backing for Peter Willsman Exposes Deeper Left Rift.

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New forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, should replace unconditional support.

Momentum withdraws support for Corbyn ally Peter Willsman for ‘deeply insensitive’ remarks about Jews

Independent.

The present crisis in the Labour Party over anti-semitism is a mess with which most people would recoil from.

The underlying problem is not this or that charge: it is a fight over Jeremy Corbyn’s politics.

Although the majority of the left stands with the anti-austerity programme, and for democratic socialist measures  to replace neo-liberal politics – give or take some divisions about how to respond to Brexit – there is no consensus about the politics of the Middle East and, above all, on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Is this  the central question of the age? In most people’s minds it is not. We could begin with the civil war in Syria, where massacres continue after genocides.

But there is no getting away from it.

Jeremy Corbyn comes from an honourable tradition on the left which puts international solidarity at the forefront of left campaigning.

It is part of his marrow.

Jeremy Corbyn has put the Palestinian people’s rights at the centre of his work.

It is scandalous to accuse him of underhand behaviour when he has acted in the plain light of day.

Or that Corbyn is of the same mind as everybody he’s been found in the company of.

Nobody can doubt that this involves cooperating, or at least appearing on the same platform,, as people he disagrees with.

But not everybody on the left accepted, or does now accept, the idea that solidarity means not taking a critical distance from the leadership and activists of liberation movements.

A thoughtful piece this year on the New Socialist site begins with a premise that seems very much of a different time:  Antisemitism and Our Duties as Anti-Imperialists. (The Editors April 2018)

The claim that groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are liberation movements reflects a position of the 1960s and 1970s left on such struggles which has not worn well.

But in a wider sense what are the “duties” of “anti-imperialists”? Opposing colonialism, the occupation of whole swathes of the world by European powers, US intervention in Asian wars, ended by the 1970s.

The term ‘anti-imperialism’ was visibly coming apart after the the Khomeini  victory in Iran in 1979, which heralded a wider rise in diverse forms of political Islam – virulently opposed to the left. Yet these were, in Tehran,  ‘anti-imperialist’, as a whole section of the Iranian left claimed, before being executed or put in gaol.

Opposition to US-led intervention against Iraq, the Gulf War onwards, and in Afghanistan, had some meaning.

But it failed to inspire much support on the left for Baathism or the various Islamist groups that took power in Afghanistan

The idea of moral obligations to support positively anti-imperialist countries or movements opposing ‘imperialism’ has even less  meaning today when ‘anti-imperialism’ or ‘campism’ in the post-Soviet world has led some on the left to claim the mantle of ‘internationalism’ for support for a variety of repressive and reactionary states and movements opposed to the ‘West’.

Despite its obvious bankruptcy the influence of this stand can be seen at present far beyond the Middle East, with some continuing to back the blood-stained and  corrupt regime in Nicaragua on ‘anti-imperialist’ grounds.

The hollowness of this position is not hard to see. For those who wish to see them taken apart read Dan la Botz Nicaragua’s Popular Rebellion Stopped—For Now. (1)

Just as we would not tolerate unconditional support for Israel, above all in the form of the Israeli government, it is hard to see why why we should tolerate the – well-known – faults of the backward looking right-wing  Muslim Brotherhood ally Hamas.

This has its domestic translation.

In the present Labour Party row the issue keeps returning to the influence of anti-democratic, and prejudiced forces that style themselves ‘anti-Zionists’ operating in movements calling for  support for the Palestinians.

These range from those who have lost all sense of decency through their use of  ‘Nazi’ rhetoric against ‘Zionists’, Islamist and classic far-right anti-semites, to the probably more numerous, “conspiratorialist” individuals and groups.

But the Labour Party is not, as Labour Against the Witchunt and the its backers would like it to be, a playground where these individuals can engage in ‘debates’ on the template of the Letters Page in the Weekly Worker.

It is equally  true that the Labour Party is not going to be taught lessons about racialism from people like the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, who declared in June 2016,

Our freedom from the EU will make extremism less, not more, likely, as the pressure cooker is released.

Brexit: It’s a wonderful day for Britain – and its Jews

But we are not going to resolve our difficulties without a coming to terms with the need for forms of international solidarity, based on democratic human rights, to replace the old unconditional support. for movements we think are ‘anti-imperialist’ or progressive.

In the deeper senses outlined above this is simultaneously a foreign policy issue and a domestic one, so that this analysis by Steve Bush in the New Statesman is right at both ends put together:

The issue at stake is that Corbyn himself regards the row as a foreign policy issue, confined to the question of how Labour members can talk about Israel, while his critics primarily see it as a domestic issue, confined to the need to reassure British Jews of Labour’s intentions and to take the sting out of the row, which risks derailing a summer of detailed policy interventions from the opposition.

Momentum dump Peter Willsman from their NEC slate – in direct defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s office

The backlash at Momentum’s decision illustrates all these issues coming to the surface:

Momentum drops Pete Willsman – support the comrade!

 

And so it goes….

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Skwawkbox launches an organised wrecking operation against Momentum.

LOCAL MOMENTUM GROUPS COME OUT FOR WILLSMAN AND THE #JC9YES9

National Momentum – or rather the officer subset of Momentum’s ‘NCG’ (National Coordinating Group) – made the widely-condemned decision yesterday to withdraw support from left-slate member Peter Willsman in the vital National Executive Committee elections, over antisemitism claims that do not stand up to scrutiny.

The decision sparked a major online backlash, with large numbers announcing they had ended their membership.

But others are staying within the organisation yet still making clear that the NCG has not spoken for them.

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(1) Notably,

Many of my generation, the generation of 1968, who supported the Nicaraguan revolution of 1979 (as I did), may have found these arguments appealing, reflecting as they did the situation forty years ago, but not only do they have little factual or logical merit, but they are based on a specious reasoning that denigrates ordinary people and idolizes strongmen. Such arguments are based upon three fundamental suppositions:

1) Nicaraguans and other Latin Americans cannot have legitimate grievances against the “Leftists” governments and would any case be incapable of creating their own movement, so they must be manipulated by some other force;

2) the United States masterminds and controls all political developments in Latin America from Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela and Nicaragua, and it is the real force behind any apparent popular opposition;

3) existing “anti-imperialist” governments (Russia, Syria, Nicaragua), whatever their character, must be supported against the world’s only imperialist nation, the United States.

These arguments can only appeal to those who have no understanding of the complexity of international political developments, of a world where, for example, people can organize themselves, a left can develop critical of a so-called leftist government, and the United States, powerful as it is, cannot always call the shots. That these authors provide shameful support for an authoritarian, capitalist government murdering hundreds and wounding thousands of its citizens is not surprising, given their support for Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia, Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, and Assad’s dictatorship in Syria. Zeese and Blumenthal represent what writer Rohini Hensman has called a neo-Stalinist current that came out of the left but now has little that is even vaguely leftists about it.[18]

Fortunately, the international democratic left has rallied in defense of the Nicaraguan people’s rebellion. Noam Chomsky spoke out against Ortega’s “authoritarian” government on Democracy Now.[19] Dozens of leftist intellectuals and political activists  principally from Europe and Latin America signed a statement strongly condemning the Ortega governments and containing these demands:

The unconditional release of all political prisoners; the transfer of information from the authorities to human rights organizations about the real situation of the persons declared missing; disarmament of the paramilitary army organized by Ortega and his government; an independent international investigation into the various forms and facets of repression, with appropriate sanctions; the constitution of a transitional government — with a limited mandate, — leading to free elections; and the end of the Ortega-Murillo government.[20]

After Peter Willsman Outburst on Jewish “Trump Fanatics” Left Figures Urge Him to Stand Down.

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Pressure Grows on Willsman to Withdraw from NEC Race.

The day starts with this:

Bombshell tape shows Jeremy Corbyn ally blamed ‘Jewish Trump fanatics’ for inventing Labour antisemitism

The Jewish Chronicle continues,

The leaked audio begins with Mr Willsman ending a sentence saying: ”They can falsify social media very easily.”  It appears to be a suggestion that some of the antisemitism Labour members have posted online has been faked.

He then says: “And some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics and all the rest of it.”

Speaking in an increasingly agitated manner, Mr Willsman, who is secretary of the Campaign For Labour Democracy group that supported Ken Livingstone over his Zionism and Nazi remarks, adds: “So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.

“So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis where is your evidence of severe and widespread antisemitism in this Party?’”

As he continues to speak, amid audible protests from some in the room, Mr Willsman adds: “Let me ask you, let me ask you a question, how many people in this room have seen antisemitism in the Labour Party?

“Put your hands up…  one, two – you’ve had antisemitism in the Labour Party? I’m amazed. I’ve certainly never seen it.”

Audio: Labour NEC member Peter Willsman’s rant about Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’

Comrade Rhea Wolfson had this reaction:

Phil sets the right tone:

Labour’s Incompetent Handling of Anti-Semitism

A recording of outgoing NEC and Momentum slate member, Pete Willsman ranting away about anti-semitism at the NEC earlier this month is, to put it euphemistically, not helpful. Saying “I’ve seen no evidence of anti-semitism” coming from someone who isn’t Jewish is like some bloke claiming sexism is a myth because he’s never experienced it. While not anti-semitic in and of itself, it’s crass, stupid, and in the context of what’s going on, unforgivable. As Luciana Berger notes in her quote, evidence of anti-semitism, as sporadic as in the party it is, was right there in the papers in front of him. The thing is when studied recklessness of this sort happens and continues to happen (I understand this isn’t the first time Pete has held forth on this topic in a similar manner), you’ve got to start asking serious questions. Whether Pete is guilty of being stupid or something worse doesn’t matter, he has shown himself unfit for the position he’s contesting, Momentum slate or no Momentum slate. For as long as he’s on the leading body and associated as a “key ally” of Corbyn, he’s a liability and will cause further damage down the line. I was glad when Ken Livingstone belatedly realised his pig headedness was harming the Corbyn project, and did the decent thing. I hope Pete has a similar epiphany too.

Already Labour List reports,

Corbynites who previously expressed support for the slate termed the #JC9, endorsed by Momentum, Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD), the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) and others, have withdrawn their backing.

Leading Corbynite journalist Owen Jones said he would no longer be voting for Willsman, and Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar agreed that the NEC member should pull out from the race. Matt Zarb-Cousin, Jeremy Corbyn’s former spokesman, also spoke out and started using the hashtag #JC8.

Owen has updated his tweet:

This the recommendation we would follow and urge others to do so:

Some supporters of Ann Black, who was dropped from the full Corbynite slates and now stands as an independent candidate for Labour’s NEC, are urging members to vote for ‘Ann and the #JC8’. Ballots dropped on Thursday and voting closes on 30th August.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 31, 2018 at 10:45 am

Spare a Thought for the Pro-Trumpists.

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Ipswich Protest: C’est dur, dur, d’être bébé Trump.

Donald Trump visit: London protesters stage ‘one of UK’s biggest rallies in years’

Protesters young and old, from the UK and beyond, were united in their opposition to the US president, writes Sky’s Mark White.

Organisers claimed 250,000 people turned out for the huge demonstration in London.

While police have not given an official estimate, to my eyes this was one of the biggest rallies in recent years.

It was mass mobilisation by many disparate groups, all united in their belief that President Donald Trump should not have been afforded an official welcome to the UK.

It must be hard from the admirers of ‘Mr Brexit’ to put up with this:

And this:

Not to mention the latest spluttering about “fake news” – Trump’s recorded interview in the Current Bun.

So hard that they have spluttering into their Chlorinated Earl Grey and Texan Cornish pasties all day:

Portada de Daily Mail (United Kingdom)

DAYS OF MIDDLE-CLASS RAGE

Writes horney handed son of toil, TOM SLATER DEPUTY EDITOR

The Trump protests are more about therapy than politics.

..therapy, not politics. And if there’s anything truly striking about political life today, it’s not the illiberal blowhard that is Trump – it is how hysterical, disconnected and feeble the left has become.

Followed by even hornier Brendan O’Neill.

It is censorious to brand Trump a bigot for criticising the mayor.

Did you say censorship?

Reach for the genetically modified Bourbon!

George Galloway and Ken Livingstone in Eagerly Awaited Beanfeast.

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Galloway is a busy bunny these days.

To  past glories such as,   Dusty Springfield, the musical (2010) and children’s books about an ‘ethical pirate’ (2017, we have this, the Show of the Century!

Image result for George Galloway children's pirate books Red Molucca the Good Pirate,

The masses are on tenterhooks…

To crown our joy we also have the following, a spectacle of spectacles:

Topple Galloway
Coming up from D-Day the 6th of June: a brand new show Topple Gallowaytopical gorgeousness, irreverence and lacerating commentary topped off with ribald repartee. George Galloway joins vocabulary forces with independent journalist and commentator Steve Topple of the canary.co. Tune in on Tuesdays for two of Britain’s top talkers in one show!

Here is the some Wit from noted Japester Steve Topple.

 

We look forward to Ken’s response to this Galloway tweet: